In an effort to halt the spate of bombings of oil and gas installations in Niger Delta region of the country, the Federal Government at the weekend convened a meeting with former warlords in the Niger Delta States, telling them that plans were afloat to provide welfare and housing scheme for the ex-militants aside the usual programme and projects that are on-going.
The meeting which was convened in Benin by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta Matters and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh, is coming on the heel of the renewed hostilities and pipeline bombings by suspected militants in the region.
He stressed that the current situation in the region has rendered the country impotent of solving its own problems.
A new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, has claimed responsibility for many of the bombings that have crippled earnings from oil and worsened the economy.
The was attended by Phase one, two and three ex-militants of the amnesty programme from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, where plans on how to put an end to re-occurring bombing was discussed.
Addressing the ex militants, Boroh said, “This amnesty programme is our programme and what has brought us so far is something that is happening now that affects all of us, whether you are living in the creek or outside. It is the issue of pipeline vandalism which I understand some people do it to make people feel bad or get recognised.
“If you have issues, if you have misunderstanding, if you have anything worrying you at all, you should discuss it with the person you feel can solve the problem rather than go and destroy pipeline that is affecting the whole environment.
“The common factor is security challenges we are facing in our areas, in our region that is affecting the economy of the country. It is another aspect that we should not be indulging in. if you have an issue with anybody please discuss it with the person rather than bombing pipeline that would affect the environment. Personally it makes me feel bad that we don’t know how to solve our problem.
“It is our responsibility to make sure that security in our environment is well sorted out. Please let us do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t occur again,” Boroh said.
The Special Adviser who expressed optimism about the outcome of the meeting, said “We have all resolved that we will put our heads and hands and all, together to prevent the re-occurrence of this type of thing.”
He assured oil firms in the country of the the Federal government’s commitment to putting an end to problems associated with bombings, adding, “collectively we (Federal government and Niger-Delta Avengers) have agreed to work as a team to prevent re-occurrence. We feel bad that it is happening, it is affecting our economy and it is affecting development and we are very concerned about it.”
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Boroh noted that the recent bombings in the Niger-Delta was inflicting pains on Nigerians and reducing the economic fortune of the countryn just as he called on those carrying out the bombing to discuss whatever issues they have appropriately rather than resort to other means.
Some of the militants who attended the meeting pledged to support the Federal Government to bring lasting peace to the region.